At Oracle we understand that healthy relationships are key to a better life. We also know that much of the harm suffered by our young people has been sustained in their earliest years and within the family context.
This experience has often left our young people with highly impaired abilities to get on with others in a consistent and satisfying way. However, from experience and research it is clear that many young people actively worry about their families while in care, and they often return to their families in some way once they have left the care system. This is why at Oracle we focus on how we can help our young people heal and develop, and where appropriate provide support to their families too. We do our utmost at Oracle Care to provide a sense of family within the organisation.
The therapeutic care we provide at Oracle is based around our own robust theoretical model. This model has at its heart a thorough understanding of attachment theory, good parenting styles and an understanding of the many ways in which young people communicate their inner world. These elements are set against a backdrop of family-based work where appropriate. We try to foster an atmosphere of attunement, where carers are able to tune in to our young people’s needs and help develop their ability to express their own needs. We take the approach that the whole system around the child needs to be therapeutic in order for the child to heal him or herself. Broadly we take a three-pronged approach: ensuring the teams and systems around the children are therapeutic, working with families, and working with children on an individual basis.
Throughout their time with us at Oracle, every young person’s progress is regularly monitored and assessed through our ‘Team Around the Child’ process. This ensures that professionals from each young person’s care, clinical and education teams have constant and integrated input, ensuring we provide a synergistic approach to how we look after our young people. Our focus is on celebrating positive outcomes and planning for the future.
Therapeutic Parenting through a Skilled Workforce
Our therapeutic model involves helping our care and education staff teams to provide consistent, predictable, therapeutic leadership and nurture. At Oracle we encourage our workforce to be compassionate, to feel empowered, and to model these qualities to our young people. This is achieved through careful selection of staff and by providing extensive therapeutic and practical training to our team, from Home Managers to Residential Care Practitioners to teaching staff. Our current course schedule includes courses such as: Therapeutic Parenting, Attachment Theory, Active Listening, working with Autism, Holding and Containment, Understanding Challenging Behaviour and Understanding Sexually Harmful Behaviour – all of which are led and delivered by specialists. Furthermore our Clinical Team provides regular and systematic consultations with our staff to equip them with a specific ‘tool kit’ of evidence-based therapeutic strategies to support our ‘Team Around the Child’ approach. Our Registered Managers are highly skilled and knowledgeable, with many years’ experience helping young people to achieve emotional wellbeing. In our schools all staff have regular access to clinical support and, if required, individual therapy can be commissioned for young people such as counselling, speech and language or occupational therapy.
Individual Psychological Intervention
The other element of our therapeutic approach is the way we psychologically assess each young person to evaluate how we can support them in achieving their best potential in life. Each young person who comes into our care receives a thorough psychological assessment of their needs, which is overseen by our Principal Psychologist. This results in a therapeutic plan which, if appropriate, incorporates relevant 1:1 or group therapy with an experienced Clinician. This may take the form of play therapy, art therapy, family therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-based models as well as other more focused treatments for specific difficulties. This may include more directive work with young people who require a more forensically-informed approach. Treatment plans may also include physical activities which aim to help repair fundamental problems around trust, self-esteem and self-efficacy – all of which are crucial to living a healthy adult life.
Case Study 1 - Charlotte's Story
Case Study 2 - Martin's Story
Dr Fenella Quinn, Principal Psychologist
Dr Fenella Quinn holds a practitioner doctorate in Counselling Psychology from Regent’s University, is HCPC Registered and a member of the British Psychological Society. She has 12 years of experience working as a psychotherapist with children and adults, and has worked in many different areas of children’s and adolescents’ mental health. As well as being able to use various psychotherapeutic models such as existential psychotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive therapies and models of attachment, Fenella is also a highly experienced play therapist who can integrate these ways of thinking into working non-verbally with children.